In my pitching in-person, in cover letters, and in my resumes (you bet, plural), I switched from deferential to blazing-guns aggressive. The latter hit homeruns. After the first interview, they called for a second. I got the message: They want a vendor with drive, ideas, and confidence.
No, they don't want the mouse that got backed into a hole during The Great Recession. So, I speak up. For example, today on the second interview I complimented the chief executive officer of the company on an innovative tactic on the website. I even threw in that I was jealous I hadn't thought it up.
You bet, stand toe to toe with the prospect. After all, I am pitching a service prospects can't do themselves. So, there is no reason not to present myself as a peer. Would I do that if I were pitching to the president of the U.S? Yes. That's because he is contacting me since he doesn't have to the time to put together his own communications material.
Being deferential is something that become an anachronism when digital leveled the playing field for everything.